The 2nd annual Feed Awards are back with 7 exciting trophies to honour distance running’s top performers!
Breakout Athlete & Northern Star Award– Cam Levins
Canada’s Cam Levins takes home the crown as the 2012 breakout athlete. Cam had an outstanding year in which he doubled at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships for Southern Utah University. He won both the 5,000m and 10,000m events. Cam became well known in elite circles as an up and coming star with the ability to compile huge weekly mileage. He ran an incredible 190 miles one week in 2012! Levins made his first Olympic appearance this past summer, competing in both the 5,000m and 10,000m events respectively. He finished 11th in the 10k and 14th in the 5k, both were star studded and extremely competitive fields. It became known Levins was battling illness before and throughout the 5,000m. Cam officially turned pro in 2012, signing with a sponsorship deal with Nike. He also got a new coach in Dave Scott-Thomas – the Canadian Speed River Track Club coach who also trains Canadian Olympic marathoners Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis. Cam Levins is poised to be a force on the international scene for years to come and he certainly has the potential to be the greatest distance runner Canada has ever seen.
Best Performance – David Rudisha
The 2012 London Summer Games showcased many great performances across the landscape of Olympic sport – the greatest however was potentially Kenya’s David Rudisha’s run in the 800m final. He absolutely blew away the field on route to the gold medal and a new world record of 1:40.91! His splits were off the charts – running, well actually sprinting is the more accurate term, Rudisha kept it smooth and barely slowed down throughout the race. His 200m splits were 23.40, 25.88, 25.02 and finally 26.61 to close for the victory. The 800m could be the most competitive event in all of track and field, and for Rudisha to show such dominance is truly something special.
2012 was resurgence for the USA’s Dathan Ritzenhein. The former 5,000m American record holder faded from the spotlight in 2011 only to reaffirm himself as one of the top American distance runners in 2012. His original goal was to qualify for the London Olympics in the marathon, however he ultimately cam up short – finishing 4th in the Olympic trials running a PR of 2:09:55 and missing 3rd place by just 8 seconds. Dathan then decided to take a shot at qualifying for the 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. He punched his ticket to London placing 3rd at the trials in 27:36 (He needed to run the A standard of 27:45 to qualify). He then raced a very respectable 27:45 in London finishing 13th overall. The best moment of 2012 for Ritz came after the Olympics at the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Dathan had announced a semi-retirement from the marathon distance following his 4th place finish at the U.S trials. That retirement was short lived however, the Salazar coached athlete ran an incredible race in Chicago finishing 9th overall while running the third fastest marathon in U.S. history in 2:07:47. Dathan Ritzenhein truly came back in 2012 to cement himself as a force amongst America’s distance running elite and a strong player on the World stage.
Jaw Dropper – ING New York City Marathon
For years, the first Sunday in November has been reserved for the New York City Marathon. This year however plans got turned upside down as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Initially, race director Mary Wittenburg and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg stated the race would go on regardless of the hurricane saying that it would rally the city in a positive way and would not defer any resources away from the recovery efforts. Thousands came to New York in anticipation the event would go on as planned. However, following tremendous public pressure to cancel the event, both Wittenburg and Bloomberg decided it was best to not go forward with the marathon. It was the first time in the event’s 42 year history it had to be cancelled. The New York Road Runners, organizers of the NYC Marathon, donated $1 million dollars to the victims and recovery of hurricane Sandy. On the Sunday in which the marathon was originally slated to be run, thousands rallied in Central Park to run a marathon as well as volunteer to help those affected by the storm. The Hamilton Marathon, scheduled on the same day as New York, opened up an additional 250 spots to runners who were signed up for the ING New York City Marathon.
Canada’s Dylan Wykes has a never say die attitude. He refused to give up on his Olympic dream despite missing the Canadian Olympic Marathon standard of 2:11:29 at the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and dropping out of Japan’s Lake Biwa Marathon with stomach issues. Time was running out for Dylan and in a last ditch effort, with only a month left to qualify, he took a shot at the ABN AMRO Rotterdam Marathon. Wykes was clutch at the right time, posting a 2:10:47 – the fastest qualifying time of the three who represented Canada in London and the 2nd fastest time in Canadian history, behind Jerome Drayton’s 1975 Canadian record of 2:10:08. Dylan backed up his performance in London crossing the line as the top Canadian and claiming 20th overall in 2:15:26. Wykes’ clutch performances and will to keep trying earn him this year’s Grinder Award.
Most Outstanding Runner – Mo Farah
The Mo-Bot was out in full force in 2012, the decorated British athlete showcased himself to the World at the Olympic Games. Farah had all the pressure on him going into London as one of the favourites in both the 10,000m and 5,000m events. He had home court advantage and backed that up with two incredible performances. Doubling in both these events is one thing, but winning them is almost unheard of. Mo started off by winning gold in the 10,000m on August 4th, running 27:30 for the victory. He then took gold again on August 11th in the 5,000 winning by mere milliseconds over Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel in 13:41.66. Fans around the World were captivated by Farah’s performances and his exciting finishes – sparking an explosion of the ‘Mo-Bot’ – a move where you meet your arms on the top of your head to make an M-shape; even Jamaica’s Usain Bolt was seen performing the maneuver.
About the Author: Brett is a passionate athlete, writer, and huge fan of distance running. An Ottawa, ON native, Brett Bonisteel trains with the Running Room Racing team under Coach Phil Marsh. When he’s not training or preparing for a road race, Brett is tracking down the World’s best elite runners for interviews. He can be found at major road races, track meets and on press trucks covering the biggest races. Brett is extremely proud to be a Runners Feed contributor and is looking to further develop himself as a writer.
Follow Brett: @brettbonisteel